May 13, 2011 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

the_fenceDirected by Rory Kennedy

In Oct. 2006, the U.S. government decided to build a 700-mile fence along its troubled 2000-mile-plus border with Mexico.  Three years, 19 construction companies, 350 engineers, thousands of construction workers, tens of thousands of tons of metal and $3 billion later, was it all worth it?

Rory Kennedy (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib”) follows her subjects through private ranches, protected wilderness, bustling border towns and scrub deserts for a revealing, often surprising look at the controversial southern U.S. border barrier. As many as 500,000 undocumented immigrants are estimated to cross into the U.S. every year.  In the aftermath of 9/11, the Bush administration responded to the enormous political pressure to close what was seen as a dangerous open door with a seemingly simple, some say simplistic, solution:  a fence dividing the United States from its neighbor to the south.

Approved by Congress under the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and passed by 73% of Congress, with support from both Republicans and Democrats, the fence was constructed at a cost of more than $3 billion, a figure that continues to grow with maintenance and repairs. One of the most confounding and little-known realities of the fence is that it covers only about one-third of the 2,000-mile border.  A patchwork of materials ranging from corrugated steel and concrete to chain-link fence and railroad ties, it stops abruptly in places, leaving long stretches of open space that the government has no plans to seal off.  As one of Kennedy’s subjects notes, sometimes the easiest way to get past the fence is to “go a mile down this road [where] there is no fence” and simply walk around it.

“People are being forced to watch every dollar they earn and spend nowadays, and they assume Congress is doing the same,” she says. “It’d be almost comic if it weren’t so tragic.”

HBO Documentary Films presents THE FENCE (LA BARDA); a Moxie Firecracker production; directed and narrated by Rory Kennedy; producers, Rory Kennedy, Liz Garbus and Keven McAlester; writer, Mark Bailey; associate producer, Lauren Barker; editor, Sari Gilman; cinematographer, Nick Doob.  For HBO:  senior producer, Nancy Abraham; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.

Sponsoring Organizations: The Justice for Immigrants Campaign of the Syracuse Catholic Diocese, Workers’ Center of Central New York, Nosotros, Your Latino Voice, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coaliton, Syracuse Peace Council, Detention Task Force, La Casita Cultural Center Project, LULAC.

Free to the Public